We all know fruits and veggies are supposed to be good for you. They’re chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber – all the stuff you’re supposed to eat to stay healthy and keep the pounds off. But could some vegetables actually make you gain weight? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While most vegetables are diet-friendly, there are a sneaky four that can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Keep reading to find out which veggies you may want to limit if you’re trying to slim down.
Let’s kick things off with the potato – America’s favorite vegetable. Whether mashed, baked, or fried, potatoes are a staple in many people’s diets. But here’s the rub: these tubers can lead you down a path of weight gain. Surprised? Most folks don’t realize that potatoes are starchy and high in calories. Pile on some butter or gravy, and whoa, you’re in deep calorie territory! And we haven’t even talked about the blood sugar spikes these spuds cause! One baked white potato can raise your blood sugar more than a glazed donut! But that’s not all. Did you know that potatoes are a big GMO crop? Yep, many spuds are genetically modified, causing a whole different set of worries. Some experts reckon that these GMOs might mess with our bodies in ways that make us pack on the pounds. It’s a complex issue, but the fact remains you might want to think twice before reaching for that bag of chips!
Nothing says summer like steaming ears of sweet corn dripping with butter. But before taking a bite out of this yellow goodness, just know that corn is one of the starchier vegetables out there. Each bite is brimming with sugars and carbs, a combo that calls for caution. Because corn is quickly absorbed in the blood stream it is responsible for causing blood sugar spikes, a no-no for those looking to avoid diabetes. Then there is the small detail of the genetically modified (GMO) variety of corn. Scientists tinker with their genes to resist pesky bugs. But, hidden issues lurk. Our bodies can’t recognize these altered genes as food. This could lead to inflammation, a notable weight gain culprit. One Norwegian rat study showed that rats consuming GMO-corn ate more and got fatter faster than non-GMO fed rats. The same rats fed fish whose diet consisted of GMO-corn also got fatter. Pile on the bitter fact that many of our sweet treats are made from this same GMO-corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup, a sweetening agent in countless processed foods, including sodas, cereals, fruit juices, and candy. Consuming too much can push your calorie intake over the edge. Being aware of these potential pitfalls can help you maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight.
Soy beans, soy milk, soy sauce, tofu…all widely consumed products. But did you know that soy may be linked to weight gain? Phytoestrogens live in soy and can act like real estrogen. Too much of these may mimic hormones, confusing the body’s own endocrine stem. The result? Acne, weight gain, and possible decreased thyroid function. Those eating 40 mg of soy isoflavone per day may be 13% more likely to experience fertility issues than those with intakes below 10 mg per day. Some animal studies show a link between soy and infertility and breast cancer. Now add the pesticides lurking in GMO soy, which encourages the body to hold on to fat and acidic waste, causing premature aging and weight loss trouble.
4. White Beets
Gather round, folks. I’ve got a sweet tale for you. It’s about those white beets you see at your local market. Known as sugar beets, these humble veggies hide a sweet secret. Ever wondered where store-bought sugar comes from? Well, it’s these little guys! Sugar beets contain a rich reservoir of sucrose. This makes them the perfect candidate for sugar extraction. Factories take these beets, slice and dice them, then boil them down. The sweet juice from the sugar beets gets extracted, leaving behind the fibrous residue. This juice undergoes crystallization, forming the granulated sugar you see in the store. Sugar beets have one more dimension worth noting. 60% of table sugar made is of the GMO variety of sugar beets. Nothing is conclusive, but there is data to suggest that GMO sugar beets may be linked to weight gain. That’s a double-whammy for your waistline. Thankfully, good old-fashioned cane sugar is still without modifications. Raw sugar is an even better choice. While we rarely eat sugar beets as a veggie, they are sometimes added to salads. They are the white slices that taste like a sugary potato. So there you have it, if weight loss is your goal, take heed!
The Bottom Line
If the idea of GMOs, pesticides, and unhealthy vegetables all feel too confusing, just remember this one simple thing: farmers feed their livestock (cows, chickens, pigs and fish) soy and corn to make them grow fat faster. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. Focus on low-calorie, high-fiber options like leafy greens and other colorful varieties for the bulk of your vegetable intake if weight loss is your goal. Going organic is a great way to deal with GMO concerns. As is pasture-raised meats. With a little planning and veggie variety, you can still enjoy these four while maintaining a healthy weight.